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from that time to the death of our author, and for many years afterwards, much clumsy sarcasm and many malevolent reflections *.
On this play Mr. Pope has the following note, Act I, Sc. i.
« This first scene was added since the edition of 1608, which is much short of the present editions,
* In his Silent Woman, AE V. Sc. ii. 1609, Jonson perhaps pointed at Shakspere, as one whom he viewed with scornful, yet with jealous eyes :
“So, they may censure poets and authors, and compare them; Daniel with Spenser, Jonson with tother youth, and so forth,” Decker, however, might have been meant.
In the Induction to Bartholomew-Fair, which was acted in 1614, two years before the death of our author, three of his plays, and in the piece itself two others, are attempted to be ridiculed.
In The Devil's an Ass, acted in 1616, all his historical plays are obliquely censured.
Meer-er, “ By my faith you are cunning in the chronicles.
Fitz-Dot. “ No, I confess, I ha't from the play-books, and think they are more authentick."
They are again attacked in the Induction to Bartholomewe Fair :
“ An some writer that I know had but the penning o’this matter, he would ha' made you such a jig-a-jog i'the booths, you should ha'thought an earthquake had been in the fair. But these master-poets, they will ha' their own absurd courses, they will be informed of nothing."
wherein the speeches are generally enlarged, and raised; several whole scenes besides, and the choruses also, were since added by Shakspere."
Dr. Warburton also positively asserts that this first scene was written after the accession of K. James I.; and the subsequent editors.agree, that several additions were made by the author to King Henry V. after it was
The following passage in Cynthia's Revels, 1601, was, I think, likewise pointed against Shakspere :
“ Besides they would wish your poets would leave to be promoters of other men's jests, and to way-lay all the stale apophthegms or old books they can hear of, in print or otherwise, to farce their scenes withal;- Again, that feeding their friends with nothing of their own, but what they have twice or thrice cooked, they should not wantonly give out how soon they had dress'd it, nor how many coaches came to carry away the broken meat, besides hobby-horses and foot-cloth nags." .' · Jonson's plots were all his own invention ; our author's chiefly taken from preceding plays or novels. The former employed a year or two in composing a play; the latter probably produced two every ycar, while he remained in the theatre. · The Induction to The Staple of Neu's, which appeared in 1625, not very long after the publication of our author's plays in folio, contains a sneer at a passage in Julius Cæsar :
Know Cæsar doth not wrong; nor without cause " Will he be satisfied :").
originally composed. But there is, I believe, no good ground for these assertions. It is true, that no perfect edition of this play was published before that in folio, in 1623 ; but it does not follow from thence, that the scenes which then first appeared in print, and all the choruses, were added by Shakspere, as Mr. Pope sup
which for the purpose of ridicule is quoted unfaithfully; and in the same play may be found an effort, as impotent as that of Voltaire*, to raise a laugh at Hamlet's exclama. tion, when he kills Polonius.
Some other passages, which are found in Jonson's works, might be mentioned in support of this observation; but being quoted hereafter for other purposes, they are here omitted.
Notwithstanding these proofs, Jonson's malevolence to Shakspere, and jealousy of his superior reputation, have been doubted by Mr. Pope and others ; and much stress has been laid on a passage in his Discoveries, and on the commendatory verses prefixed to the first edition of our author's plays in folio.-The reader, after having perused the following character of Jonson, drawn by Mr. Drummond of Hawthornden, a contemporary, and an intimate acquaintance of his, will not, perhaps, readily believe these posthumous encomiums to have been sincere. “ Ben
*" Ah! ma mere, s'écrie-t-il, il y a un gros rat derriére la tapissaire-il tire son éfée, court au rat, et tue le bon homme Polonius."'--Oeuvres de Voltaire, Tome XV. p. 473, 410.
"Le prince tue le pere de sa maitresse, feignant de tuer un rat.”-Tome IX, Dissertation sur la tragedie ancienne et moderne, p, 26.
poses, after 1608. We know, indeed, the contrary to be true: for the chorus to the fifth act must have been written in 1599. The fair inference to be drawn from the imperfect and mutilated copies of this play, published in 1600, 1602, and 1608, is, not that the
Jonson (says that writer), was a great lover and praiser of himself; a contemner and scorner of others, given rather to lose a friend than a jest; jealous of every word and action of those about him, especially after drink, which is one of the elements in which he lived ; a dissembler of the parts which reign in him ; a bragger of some good that he wanted : he thinketh nothing well done, but what cither himself or some of his friends have said or done; he is passionately kind and angry; careless either to gain or keep; vindi&tive, but, if he be well answered [angry], at himself; interprets the best sayings and deeds often to the worst*. He was for any religion, as being versed in both; oppressed with fancy, which over-mastered his reason, a general disease in many poets. His inventions are smooth and easy; but above all, he excelleth in translation, Drummond's Works, fol. 1711, p. 226.
In the year 1619 Jonson went to Scotland, to visit Mr. • Drummond, who has left a curious account of a conversation that passed between them, relative to the principal poets of those times.
* His misquoting a line of Julius Cæsar, so as to render it nonsense, at a time when the play was in print, is a strong illustration of this part of his character. The plea of an unfaithful memory cannot be urged in his defence, for he tells us in his Discoveries, that till he was past forty, he could repeat every thing that he had written,
whole play, as we now have it, did not then exist, but that those copies were surreptitious (probably taken down in short-hand, during the representation) ; and that the editor in 1600, not being able to publish the whole, published what he could.
I have not, indeed, met with any evidence (except in three plays) that the several scenes, which are found in the folio of 1623, and are not in the preceding quartos, were added by the second labour of the author.-The last chorus of King Henry V. already mentioned, affords a striking proof that this was not always the case. The two copies of The Second Part of King Henry IV. printed in the same year (1600) furnish another. In one of these, the whole first scene of A& III. is wanting ; not because it was then unwritten (for it is found in the other copy published in that year), but because the editor was not possessed of it. That what have been called additions by the author, were not really such, may be also collected from another circumstance; that in some of the quartos, where these supposed additions are wanting, references and replies are found to the passages omitted *.
* Of this see a remarkable instance in King Henry IV. P. II. A& I. Sc. i. where Morton, in a long speech, having informed Northumberland that the archbishop of York had joined the rebel party, the earl replies ----* I knew of this before.”—The quarto contains the reply, but not a single line of the narrative to which it relates.